Flying kites on Stone Mountain with my uncle John and cousin Candace

Back in the 80’s I lived in Atlanta, Georgia and I was fascinated by the simplest things: cracks in the pavement, fragments of quartz firmly lodged into the crumbling cement of my driveway, summer rainstorms – the ones without thunder or lighting, the one’s that I could play in – my whole neighborhood transformed into a giant water park, a concrete rainforest. There was the heat too – we lived in a house without air conditioning, and in Atlanta the summers were sweltering. I used to love to play outside in the sprinkler or with a a rusty water hose. I would go treasure hunting for crystals in my driveway. I pulled up giant clumps of wild onions in my backyard. There was kudzu, and red clay, and honeysuckle. There was the ever-present high pitched hum of crickets, as well as the scratchy rattle of cicadas.

I had a hot pink skateboard embellished with a purple dragon perched on a mountain of skulls. I had a My Real Baby™ doll named Jennifer who I loved with my whole heart. I wanted to marry my grandfather. I wanted to marry Michael Jackson. I wanted to marry Joe from New Kids On The Block. My best friend in my neighborhood was named Nadiera, and for the first year of our friendship she thought my name was Orange. I think she misheard me when I introduced myself, but I liked Orange so much that I didn’t want to tell her the truth.

My first favourite movie was The Wizard of Oz, and I would stand on my front porch in a pair of scuffed up red shoes, clicking my heels over and over saying “there’s no place like Oz!” and hoping that maybe if I did it exactly right I might actually be able to land there. The disappointment was crushing. My second favourite movie was ET. It was the first, and for a few years only movie that I owned on VHS, and I must have watched it at least 100 times. By that point I had long ago relinquished any belief that I had in magic, and I just wanted Henry Thomas to be my boyfriend so that we could ride bikes and do science projects togeather. I blame E.T. for my life long love of hoodies, thermals, and plaid flannel shirts. This chase scene continues to send chills down my spine to this day. What can I say? I’m a sucker for Aliens on bikes.

When I went back home for Thanksgiving there seemed to have been much dismantling of family photo albums. I snagged a few pictures from my Mom when I was at her house, though she was only willing to part with pictures of my father’s side of my family (they are divorced), so this portrait of my childhood in the 80’s is somewhat skewed in that direction.

What about you guys? Are any of you old enough to remember the 80’s? Please tell me that I’m not the only one.

Me & my Grandma

Me & Umpie

Me & Umpie & a big brown bear at the Atlanta Zoo

Halloween. My step-sister Chelsea was Cyndi Lauper & I was the Wicked Witch of the West - with ginger hair

Stripes were a thing back in the 80's too

Sleeping topside on Hoopie

I take fishing very seriously - also if you're on a boat for two weeks brushing your hair becomes optional - clearly

Southwest Montessori School in Atlanta, Georgia. This is where I got my hippie start. We were not allowed to bring our own lunches & they did not serve meat. We had tofu for lunch every day, cooked every disgusting way that you can think of: bbq tofu, tofu fish sticks, tofu noodle soup, etc. Consequently I now have a horrible soy allergy. For further evidence of hippy-dom check out that unicorn in the background, and that hippie-dog, and my Birkenstock laden hippie-teacher.

By 1989 I decided that I was fed up with being a girl, and that I wanted to be a tom-boy instead. I was very proud of my status as a tom-boy, and for a while I made a fairly convincing boy too. I had the new boy in my class convinced that I was a boy, and we were good friends for weeks until someone ratted me out. Eventually I did decide to embrace my girlhood again though I have never been what you would call girly, and many of the supposed pillars of femininity (make up, fashion, jewelry, ect) continue to illude me.